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WTF is Happening at 500 Capp Street?

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On June 27, the nonprofit arts organization 500 Capp Street Foundation‘s Board of Directors announced a series of controversial changes, which includes laying off its head curator Bob Linder.  The effort to “re-balance 500 Capp Street future exhibitions and public programs” is heavily misguided and local artist Alicia McCarthy has initiated a Petition to Replace the Board of 500 Capp Street!


Laying off the head curator of an organization is never good — it creates confusion about the future programming of this important community space.  New York-based painter Matt Connors has already canceled his upcoming October show at the space.  Although Connors was asked by 500 Capp Street Foundation to continue with his show, Connors told ARTnews, “Artists always have this problem where there are administrative people who are so far out of touch from actual artists.  I just can’t imagine that someone would think I would continue to do the show.”

The Petition notes that decision “is shockingly disrespectful to let the head curator go two days after opening new exhibitions.”  If you enjoy seeing how an impressive cast of invited artists (like the current shows with Liz Magor and Nina Canell or in past shows with legends like Mike Kelley) activates the David Ireland House, sign the Petition in solidarity with the Bay Area arts community.

The Petition also reads:

“The entire community treasures the work that has been taking place at 500 Capp Street. There have been different reasons offered to the press for your decision—most of them are vague, and frankly, confusing. The only concern that rings true is financial:

“We’ve been very happy with the quality of these exhibitions,” Reynolds says, “but the amount of money that was not coming in, in terms of anticipated revenue—there was a limit to what Carlie Wilmans was willing to do.”

If this in fact is the reason for laying off the head curator and ending the exhibitions programming, please fundraise! No one expects Wilmans to fund the project alone. Everyone understands the stresses of finances, especially those of us in the arts. The undersigned have never been approached to fundraise, either by way of donating artwork to auction, or by being asked to donate money. We believe that the Foundation can support itself if given the opportunity.”

Jackie Im, co-founder of Et Al Gallery, is also in support of the Petition. @jackieetal

Other important figures in the Bay Area arts scene like Jackie Im, co-founder of Et Al Gallery, have spoken out in support of the Petition.  KQED also reports that Kate Rhoades and Maysoun Wazwaz, co-hosts of the arts and culture podcast Congratulations Pine Tree say the decision to fundamentally alter the exhibitions program is very upsetting.  “David [Ireland] would be rolling in his grave knowing about the recent changes being made to his legacy,” so help stop the Board of Directors from changing the 500 Capp Street Foundation that we’ve come to know and love.


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Kirsten Chen

Kirsten Chen

@kirstensly bay area art enthusiast and writer

i'm trying to be as famous as the spice girls

1 Comment

  1. butch embrace
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I bet a bunch of people could live in that house instead.